English Place-name Society

Survey of English Place-Names

A county-by-county guide to the linguistic origins of England’s place-names – a project of the English Place-Name Society, founded 1923.


Major Settlement in the Parish of Borrowdale

Historical Forms

  • Borgordale c.1170 StBA n.d.
  • Borudale 1209,1215,1241,1337 Furness
  • Borcheredale c.1209,1215,1292 Furness
  • Borcherdale c.1210 Furness
  • Burhedale, Borhedale 1211,1240 Furness
  • Bordale 1215 LaCh
  • Borowedale 1391 GDR
  • Borowdale 1398 Furness
  • Boroudale 1396 Furness
  • Borodale 1423 Pat 1505 Cocker
  • Boradell, Borradell 1564,1569 PR(Crosth)


The explanation of this name may proceed on one or other of two lines. It may represent ON  borgar dalr , valley of the borg , or fortress,' the first element preserving the genitive case of the ON  word borg . But it is also possible that the first element is a compound borgar á , 'river of the fort,' with reference to the course of the upper Derwent. The latter river appears as Borghra in the Fountains Cartulary. The three 13th-century forms Borcheredale for Borrowdale may preserve a trace of the á in the e which connects Borcher - and -dale . Borrowdale (We) seems to be derived from a stream name Borgar á , now called Borrow Beck, and the Cumberland Borrowdale probably has the same origin.It is possible, though far from certain, that the borg from which in any case Borrowdale derived its name, was the fort which is believed to have existed near Castle Crag infra 353.